The 2013 Major League Baseball playoffs begin today on TBS and with it comes the announcement of the first-ever winners of the Bloomberg Sports Analytic rankings. BSports has graciously shared this breaking news with the Sports Techie community blog. The Moneyball era of proven MLB player success has officially arrived this season and for all seasons to come.
BSports MLB Analytic
Using proprietary and customizable sports technology for Big Data analytics created by BSports, 12 category winners were announced today based on season long statistical factors, this is the first ever MLB Analytic rankings.
The awards and rankings are aimed at providing the most advanced, in-depth assessment of batters and pitchers this season. Due to the volatility of defensive metrics, BSports believes that until more precise defensive data is generated it is difficult to empirically quantify, prompting a focus on just offensive and pitching metrics. The full rankings can be seen at http://www.bsports.com/bsportsbestlist
Using millions of data points dating back to 2000, Bloomberg Sports developed a system to objectively rank baseball’s top offensive players based solely on their statistical performances. Using factors such as home runs, walks, and stolen bases, the model used a regression analysis to calculate how these components correlate to team run production. Using these weights, BSports derived a model for how many runs a batter contributed to over the course of the season, thus producing their offensive score.
In the same way that an offensive score was derived, numerous components of a pitcher’s game were correlated to runs allowed. After adjusting innings pitched so that starters and relievers were evaluated on a level playing field, the weights derived from the regression generated a model that produced a score for how well a pitcher prevents runs above replacement.
12 MLB Analytic Categories
- Offensive Player of the Year
- Pitcher of the Year
- Reliever of the Year
- Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Pitching Rookie of the Year
- Most Improved Offensive Player
- Most Improved Starter
- Most Improved Reliever
- Best Offensive Addition
- Best Pitching Addition
- Best Impending Free Agent Hitter
- Best Impending Free Agent Pitcher
Mike Trout, Angels – Offensive Player of the Year
In 2012, Mike Trout put up the first 10 WAR season since Barry Bonds’ 2004 campaign, and he’s followed that performance with 10.2 wins in 2013, improving both his strikeout and walk rate while maintaining his power and speed. Trout’s dynamic performance leaves the rest of baseball in the dust; the second-year player simply has no weaknesses in his game, and it shows with his position atop our leaderboard.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – Starting Pitcher of the Year
Once again lefties hit below the Mendoza line against the southpaw, while right-handers were not much better. The top pitch from Clayton Kershaw is the curveball. The opposition hit just .096 against it in 146 at bats. As for those 14 hits, they were all singles. Kershaw is by far the most dominant pitcher this season by a wide margin, and he may rank amongst the greatest of all-time by the time he retires.
Koji Uehara, Red Sox – Reliever of the Year, Best 2013 Pitching Addition
The Red Sox, the only team to go from worst to first in their division this year, had many players step up out of nowhere with unexpected seasons. Topping the list might be their Japanese reliever, Koji Uehara. After Boston’s top two choices for closer went down with injuries or were just plain ineffective (Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey), Uehara moved into the closer’s job and finished the year with a microscopic 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and 21 saves. At one point of the season he retired 37 consecutive batters to go with 30 1/3 straight scoreless innings.
Jean Segura, Brewers – Offensive Rookie of the Year
Jean Segura got off to a torrid start, smacking the ball to the tune of a .325/.363/.487 line with 11 homers and 27 stolen bases in the first half. He fell off a bit in the second half, but still ended the year at .294/.329/.423, which any team will take from a good defensive shortstop.
Jose Fernandez, Marlins – Rookie Pitcher of the Year
Starting 28 games for the Marlins, Fernandez finished with a 2.19 ERA, 12-6 record, and 187 strikeouts, making him our top rookie pitcher. Fernandez turned it up down the stretch finishing with a 7-1 record after the all-star break and a 0.64 ERA in the month of September. In the second half of the season, Fernandez decreased his earned runs by two-thirds while walking only 18 batters compared to 40 in the first half. The 21-year old pitcher showed flashes of brilliance and provided hope for a Marlins team going forward.
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals – Most Improved Offensive Player
Carpenter is the most improved hitter in baseball. A key difference this season is that he figured out lefties, hitting .294 against them after hitting .265 last season. Furthermore, the All-Star’s plate discipline is sensational, as he cut down on his chase percentage (19.3%), swing percentage (37.4%), and whiff percentage (11.5%) — and he was already above average in those categories last year. Carpenter ranks as one of the elite hitters against off-speed pitches in the game, as his .306 average and .461 average both rank among MLB’s finest.
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies – Most Improved Starter
That Chacin delivered the majors’ fifth-lowest home run rate is an impressive feat. For the first time in his career, he is throwing more than 50% of his pitches in the strike zone, and his ground ball success is back after last year’s home run parade. Chacin owes a lot of his improvement to increased slider usage, and it has allowed him to improve more than any other starter.
Luke Hochevar, Royals – Most Improved Reliever
After failing to register an ERA better than 4.68 in five years as a starter, Hochevar was moved into a relief role for a suddenly contending Royals franchise, and he played a key role in the team’s turnaround. Hochevar recorded a 1.92 ERA this season while picking up two saves and striking out more than a batter per inning for the first time in his career. Only pitching an inning or two per appearance, Hochevar increased his velocity from 92.6 MPH to 95.4 MPH. The opposition went from touching up his fastball at a .313 batting clip to just a paltry .190 this season.
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds – Best 2013 Offensive Addition, Best Impending Free Agent Hitter
Last year the Reds were 21st in the majors in runs scored and this year they rank 9th. The big change? Shin-Soo Choo and his .423 on-base percentage at the top of the lineup. No other team exceeded .400 out of their primary leadoff man, and getting on base nearly half the time gives an offense plenty of scoring opportunities.
James Shields, Royals – Best 2013 Starting Pitcher Addition
Finishing 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA and 196 strikeouts, Shields was a model of consistency for the Kansas City Royals who found themselves in the wildcard chase during the last month of the season. His 3.15 ERA was a career low, and his .591 winning percentage was third-best in his 11-year career.
Bartolo Colon, A’s- Best Impending Free Agent Pitcher
Colon offered up the best performance by a pitcher bound to hit free agency. The crafty veteran is no longer relying on heat to get batters out. In fact, this was his first season averaging less than 90 MPH on his fastball. However, Colon still tosses the pitch 85% of the time, and limits the opposition to a .379 slugging percentage against it. The key for Colon is control, and by issuing walks to less than 4% of batters, Colon has avoided big innings and boasts a 2.65 ERA to go along with his 18 wins.
About Bloomberg Sports
Launched in 2010, Bloomberg Sports takes the technology developed by Bloomberg, the leading global provider in data and analytics, and applies it to the vast data analysis opportunities in sports. Bloomberg Sports’ professional products for teams, broadcasters and athletes include a comprehensive baseball scouting, data and video system now used by almost all Major League Baseball clubs. The company also has introduced a consumer soccer product for European football, “Match Analysis,” a powerful predictive and analytic tool forecasting game results, and recently launched “Stats Insights,” a comprehensive blog that contains original content and analysis for the five major European football leagues as well as the NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA. Bloomberg Sports has been named by Mashable as one of its “Five Most Innovative Sports Brands for 2012,” by The Sports Business Journal as a Finalist for “Best In Sports Technology” in 2012 and by Fast Company Magazine as one of the “Most Innovative Companies in Sports” in 2011. For more information, please go to BSports.com.
Sports Techie, When you think about the makeup of a MLB baseball team, a MVP hitter, a Cy Young pitcher and a lights out closer come to mind right away. Finding these gems is no similar to running a Fantasy Baseball team in that it is tough to win a league championship or World Series without this caliber of player producing Hall of Fame type stats throughout the grind of a 162 game season and now the postseason.
The L.A. Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are in the playoffs and feature two of the MLB Analytic category winners. Clayton Kershaw and Koji Uehara filled their roles this season at elite performance levels. The sports business reward for each organization who owns the rights to the BSports award winners is being able to factor in the consistent, high-level statistical numbers they generate, day in and day out. The incredible stats provided by Los Angeles Angels BSports Offensive POY, Mike Trout, was not enough to help them make this postseason but odds are he will next season.
Uehara was originally drafted in 1998 by the Yomiuri Giants as a starter in the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball league. His journeymen MLB career since 2009 had never produced the kind of historical season he achieved this year for the RedSox. Uehara’s 1.09 ERA was best in the majors of any pitcher with 50 or more innings and his bench mark average of 0.57 walks plus hits per nine innings — the lowest WHIP in baseball history by a pitcher who logged at least 50 innings, breaking the previous record of 0.61 produced by Dennis Eckersley for the Oakland Athletics in 1989.
MLB teams sign their stat gem players via a scouting process and draft, by signing sought after and after looked free agents, or by trading with another team. Finding diamond in the rough players is critical for smaller market teams such as the Kansas City Royals to be able to compete with the massive dollars generated by megacity based organizations like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Qualifying for the #postseason is every MLB team’s top priority and these BSports MLB Analytics award winners are helping make it so for their clubs.
The National League Wild Card game begins today between the Cincinnati Reds and the Moneyball centric Pittsburgh Pirates. Watch MLB postseason live at TBS.com and on mobile devices. With the explosion of smartphone and tablet usage we could be looking at broadcast records in terms of total TV and online viewers. Postseason schedule provided by Bleacher Report.
Advanced analytic rankings from BSports are producing stats insight like never before. MLB teams are eager to mine Big Data analytics in order to identify and cultivate All-Star caliber players who ultimately help teams win.
As a long-time Dodgers, Braves and Detroit Tigers fan in addition to the Seattle Mariners, go LA blue, bring on the tomahawk chop, let’s hear the beast roar, and maybe next year M’s. We look forward to a stat centric World Series.
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